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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Union-FC Dallas: Lineups and prematch observations

UNION (4-2-3-1) 
Bench: McGuire, Rosenberry, Yaro, Creavalle, Alberg, Epps, Simpson

FC Dallas (4-2-3-1) 
Bench: Gonzalez, Cannon, Zimmerman, Hayes, Acosta, Akindele, Colman 

- Oguchi Onyewu surmounts a hamstring issue this week to get in the starting lineup. Still no changes out wide, with both Keegan Rosenberry and Fabinho still out in the cold. Rosenberry has not started an MLS game since April 14, making two substitute appearances since. Fabinho has quietly been on the sidelines in MLS since June 18, making one substitute appearance. With the foot speed of Roland Lamah and Michael Barrios on the wings, the speedier Josh Yaro might have been a better bet against a fleet-of-foot Dallas side, but Onyewu has been strong.

- The return of Fafa Picault from a hamstring strain and Ilsinho for Roland Alberg makes two changes for Jim Curtin from the side drubbed, 3-0, by New England last week.

- FC Dallas’ two big changes from a 4-0 beating at the hands of Vancouver last week are mandated by suspensions. Carlos Gruezo’s red card rules him out, while Atiba Harris is out due to yellow-card accumulation. The former absence is mitigated by dropping Victor Ulloa deeper with Carlos Cermeno. Kellyn Acosta is on the bench.

- Neither of the Gold Cup goalies is in play today. Jesse Gonzalez, who played in the Homegrown Game midweek, is on the bench in favor of former Union player Chris Seitz. Andre Blake is still out with that lacerated hand courtesy of Acosta’s cleat in the Gold Cup final.

- Dallas’ strengths in the attacking third drive straight at the fault lines of the Union’s shortcomings: Set piece and incisive winger runs. Matt Hedges is an extremely dangerous aerial threat on corner kicks whipped in by Mauro Diaz, and Dallas is annually one of the top teams in MLS in terms of set-piece goals. Lamah and Barrios are adept at slicing through the space between fullbacks and center backs. For Giliano Wijnaldum on the left, particularly with his penchant for getting forward and leaving a wide space open between he and the left center back, the Union need to be careful in how they limit their vulnerability.

- VAR is here. Your primer is here.

- Let’s put the stakes out there: The Union need a win today against a team they've never beaten. Lose and they risk falling nine points behind Columbus should the Crew win, in addition to being four games under .500. That’s a largely insurmountable deficit, especially if they don’t make the kinds of changes needed to break the inertia.

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August 9, 2017 at 1:02 AM 

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